Ian Dodkins wrote:
My apologies - I just have to add this. Much of what Ueshiba says is also misleading; for example in the same article Sensei Ledyard quoted Ueshiba says there are 3000 basic techniques with 16 variations. I don't know if he was being ironic but I doubt if many people would seriously tell a student this. - personally I cannot yet match what he says about the peace and harmony side of aikido with his own behaviour in real challenges and his own advice to his uschideschi in real situations. Unfortunately it seems that Ueshiba was unable to teach anyone to be as good at aikido as he was - he was either a bad teacher or it is the sign of a man who was hiding something.
Actually, I was almost as intrigued by that same statement. It is not really misleading at all, although people may reasonably disagree with what goes into the calculation. I have yet to seee any canonical version of the elements.
If you multiply the known attack/response combinations (33~34/15~16) times the two initial tai sabaki musubi (omote/ura) and then times the three basic hanmi -- all counted as separate techniques -- it comes out to be right about 3000, give or take (e.g.-- 34*15*2*3= 3060). If you then lay out the receive/send (in-yo) portions of the nagewaza into its possible tai-sabaki permutations --each portion being either irimi-omote/ura or tenkan-uchi/soto -- then you get exactly 16 variations.
All told that is ~48,000 variational techniques with which to play plus the ones you get to make up at need (I love THAT allowance in the interview). If you did four technique variations every single day it would take you 32 or more years to run through them all. I don't know if any deshi stayed with him that long, other than Second Doshu.
This only emphasizes to me the importance of understanding musubi in its own right as bringing these techniques into being spontaneously, rather than as the presumed result of exhausting the catalog of techniques. My memory ain't that good.